|Termite [Marin Termite]|
The Pacific Dampwood Termite is one of the largest varieties of termites of the planet at 30mm with wings and are most often found in fallen trees and stumps in the forest and by creeks, streams, ponds, rivers and lakes. Termites dating back to the cretaceous period (125 million years ago) have been excavated, and well-preserved termites were found in amber (fossilized tree sap) in the Baltics. In entomology, termites belong to the Isoptera order and according to Cornell University; there are 2761 known species of termites. Termites are indigenous to warmer climates and depending of the specie, colonies can have millions of members and several queens with secondary colonies. Termites have a place in our ecosystem by braking down dead trees and returning them as carbon rich nutrients to the soil. Unfortunately termites don’t distinguish dead trees from lumber and are pests when they infest structures. The word “termite” comes from Latin "termes" and from Greek "tetranien", meaning "a worm eating wood". (Marin Termite Control) See also: What Termites Can Teach Us Amia Srinivasan reports. (The New Yorker)
Angry at plight of southern-resident orcas, speakers rebuke NOAA in public meetings
Scores of local residents condemned the federal agency in charge of protecting local killer whales in two packed public meetings over the weekend, highlighting growing frustration after the deaths of three of the animals this summer. The endangered southern resident killer whales, of which just 74 remain, aren’t getting the help they need from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, speakers said at a Saturday meeting in Friday Harbor and another the following day in Seattle. The agency has also not been transparent in its efforts to bring the mammals back from the brink of extinction, they added. The public hearings were initially planned to discuss an emergency rescue plan for J50, a southern resident killer whale that was critically ill before being presumed dead on Thursday. Speakers demanded that NOAA take drastic steps to save the orcas, including shutting down fishing for Chinook, creating a whale sanctuary in known foraging areas so the orcas can hunt without vessel traffic, and breaching the Lower Snake River Dams to boost fish returns for the whales. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times) See also: And now, 6 tough questions about killer whale survival put to NOAA h Joshua McNichols writes. (KUOW)
In a five-person submarine, scientists in Friday Harbor unravel the mysteries of the Salish Sea
Marine scientists used a five-person submersible to learn more about the sand lance, a forage fish that is a staple of the chinook salmon diet. If the sand lance go away, the chinook will disappear, too. Katherine Long reports. (Seattle Times)
Salmon runs return to Washington state river they’ve been denied access to for 92 years
Tacoma Power is now in the fish business. After a 92-year absence, spring chinook salmon are once again moving up and down the North Fork of the Skokomish River, thanks to a lot of human intervention and $62 million worth of state-of-the art facilities. Two new hatcheries, collection facilities and extensive monitoring of fish habitat have been put in place. In August, some of those first efforts returned to the North Fork in the form of spawning spring chinook.... The reversal of fortune for the fish came after years of negotiations with the Skokomish Indian Tribe and decades of increasing alarm over declining salmon populations. Craig Sailor reports. (News Tribune of Tacoma)
Biologists seek to prove that Rich Passage net pens have virus-infected fish
Alex Morton sits perched on the bow of the dinghy as it putters along, eyes combing the water for the little organic chunks she’s after. A stone’s throw away, Atlantic salmon bob and leap inside Cooke Aquaculture’s floating net pens in Rich Passage. She telescopes out a metal pole with a home aquarium net lashed to its end and begins dipping it in the water, scooping up white, fatty tissue that dots the waters outside the pens.... The pieces, believed to be chunks of the Atlantic salmon, go into small vials headed to a lab for testing. Morton, an independent biologist, is in Rich Passage looking for samples with environmental groups Sea Shepherd and the Wild Fish Conservancy. They suspect that the test results will show what previous testing by the conservancy has found in fish recovered after Cooke's net pen facility at Cypress Island collapsed last summer: piscine orthoreovirus (PRV). Nathan Pilling reports. (Kitsap Sun)
Deadly ghost net entangles, drowns Fraser River seals
The discovery of at least five seals that apparently died in a wayward fishing net on B.C.'s Fraser River has alarmed Vancouver Aquarium's chief veterinarian. The net and drowned seals were found by a CBC crew on Thursday, Sept. 6, while they were producing an unrelated story on the lower Fraser River near Steveston.... One conservation advocate described the material as a "ghost net," a term for lost or discarded fishing gear that harms wildlife. (Canadian Press)
Ferns are dying in Kitsap forests, and nobody knows why
The barren patch of ground stood out in the midst of the lush forest understory. All around, sword ferns crowded between tree trunks forming dense thickets of greenery, but in this spot, the ferns had been decimated. Slender dead leaves littered the ground and only bare stubs remained where clumps of healthy fronds recently flourished. "As far as I can recall, this was our ground zero," Camp Indianola director Darin Gemmer said, pausing on a hike along one of the camp's trails on Thursday. The barren spot was one of many fern die-off sites Gemmer and John O'Leary, a water resources program manager for the Suquamish Tribe, stopped to point out along the path. Over the past year, Gemmer, O'Leary and others have watched with alarm as large patches of sword fern — a ubiquitous plant in the Northwest — disappeared in North Kitsap forests. Tad Sooter reports. (Kitsap Sun)
TransCanada signs all elected First Nations along $4.7-billion gas pipeline route through B.C.
TransCanada has completed benefit agreements with all 20 elected First Nation bands along its Coastal GasLink pipeline route from Dawson Creek to Kitimat. The pipeline would feed the Shell-led LNG Canada gas plant should it go ahead, with TransCanada saying it’s ready to build. There has been heightened anticipation recently that LNG Canada is gearing up to make a final investment decision on the up-to $36-billion export terminal in Kitimat. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun) See also: Vaughn Palmer: Horgan confident hurdles will be cleared to build Kitimat LNG terminal (Vancouver Sun)
Washington and 16 other states pledge to use $1.4B in VW settlement money to cut vehicle emissions
Washington and 16 other states intend to spend a total of $1.4 billion from the Volkswagen diesel-vehicle settlement on boosting zero-emission vehicles to fight climate change. The money is part of a pledge by the 17-state coalition known as the United States Climate Alliance to use the money to reduce transportation emissions. The state Department of Ecology previously declared that Washington’s approximately $113 million share of settlement funds would be put toward zero-emissions vehicles, vessels and infrastructure. Some of the money would go to electrifying part of Washington’s ferry fleet. Joseph O'Sullivan reports. (Seattle Times)
If Washington voters become the nation's first to OK a carbon-pollution fee, who will decide how to spend the money?
A carbon-pollution fee on fossil fuels — if approved by voters in November — would finance a multibillion dollar spending surge intended to cut Washington greenhouse-gas emissions. Initiative 1631 reflects the proponents’ faith that an activist government can play a key role in speeding up a transition to cleaner fuels and helping the state adjust to a century of climate change. The spending — roughly $1 billion annually by 2023 — would be funded by a carbon fee on fossil fuels that would rise each year. The statewide ballot measure was developed by a coalition of environmental, labor, tribal and social-justice groups. It vests a 15-person board — a mix of state officials and public members appointed by the governor — with the authority to develop an annual investment plan. The options could range from helping people buy electric cars to thinning fire-prone forests. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)
Agencies release updated marbled murrelet plan
The state Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service have released a revised study for managing the state’s coastal forests to protect a threatened bird species. The revised draft environmental impact statement, or EIS, for marbled murrelet conservation is open for public comment until 5 p.m. Nov. 6.... Over the past several decades, the bird’s population has declined along the Washington, Oregon and northern California coasts. The species is recognized as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act and is recognized as endangered by the state Department of Fish & Wildlife. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald) Read the Revised DEIS and comment here.
Pender Harbour dock owners step up fight over Sechelt First Nation's restoration plan
Pender Harbour homeowners are ramping up their fight with the province and the Sechelt (shíshálh) First Nation over a plan that would see at least two dozen boat docks demolished and hundreds of others subject to environmental and archeological studies. At least 16 locals have put up a minimum of $500 each to pay for the services of former MP John Weston, now a lawyer in private practice specializing in Aboriginal law. “The plan leaves dock owners on the hook for studies we don’t see any need for and expensive new building practices,” said Leonard Lee, president of the Pender Harbour Chamber of Commerce, which is leading the fight. “They have prohibited docks in some areas for no reason that we can figure out.” ... The shíshálh deal could be a blueprint for other First Nations that hope to assert control over their traditional territories around the province, said Lee. Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun)
Getting a glimpse of Fidalgo Bay
Adults and children alike explored Fidalgo Bay’s marine life up close Saturday during Fidalgo Bay Day. From petting sea cucumbers in a touch tank to learning how orcas find their food, those who attended wound their way through interactive displays of the bay’s components at Fidalgo Bay Resort. Julia-Grace Sanders reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)
Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca- 300 AM PDT Mon Sep 17 2018
TODAY W wind to 10 kt becoming NW in the afternoon. Wind waves 1 ft or less. SW swell 3 ft at 12 seconds.
TONIGHT W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. SW swell 3 ft at 15 seconds.
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